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Iron Chef America (Part 1)


bpearis
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I for one am sad :sad: it's over. Both my husband and I watched, and he usually doesn't get wrapped up too much on cooking shows....

Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique."-Anon

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- The floor reporter is annoying. Very annoying. His comments aren't particularly useful and I'm not convinced he knows much about food. I'm not sure what to do about that. Maybe make him the theme ingredient? :smile:.

- And I still want to see Battle Wonder Bread some day :biggrin: .

Ha!

I think my favorite lines were something like (doing this from memory):

Fool on the Floor: He's putting the lobster in the blender. I think he's going to blend it!

AB: That's usually what happens when you put something in a blender.

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Overall, I think they've made a good start and it has the potential to be very good. I agree that Alton Brown needs a partner, though the floor reporter was starting to fill that roll. The chairman was good, and just needs to be allowed to develop the character. The judges they had are okay, but if they were going to bring over the original Japanese chefs, they ought to have had at least one judge who knew what real Japanese cuisine is about (and who is Japanese). I am not going to comment about who won and who lost (the forums are still like swamps full of alligators and annoyed trolls) except to say that it appeared to me that Morimoto, and especially Sakai, weren't there to win, but to deliver a lesson about what Japanese cuisine really is.

All in all, very good.

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i believe i read in an L.A. Times article that, about a week before the competition, the contestants were given a very short list of potential theme ingredients and were told the theme ingredient would be one of those on the list. (i hope my memory isn't failing me.) it's a lot easier to display ingenuity/creativity when you know what's coming.

Iron Chef Japan used the same approach.

i think the article said that in the japanese version, the contestants were given the ingredient about an hour in advance. in any event, the article listed the significant advance notice in the american version as one of the differences between the two.

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Since we have Iron Chef topics flying all over the place like crazy (we've had to merge or lock a few redundant ones) I'd like to give a little mini-index of the existing ones to try and stem further duplication.

Thank you for organizing the threads into a more comprehensive and compact unit ... I had a heck of a time tracking and back tracking to locate pieces of information. Yesterday, I had a similar discussion with Chris Cognac about the very same idea.

I believe it attests to the very high interest in this series and may be exactly what Food Network needed after such a lethargic lull .... that and new leadership, which is another thread here. :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Thanks all for your comments... In addition to emailing to Chris, your thoughts on this thread will also be read by people who worked on the show.

Speaking of Chris, I owe you sincere thanks for providing me with the Iron Chef pix, you're the best! :wub:

Glad they could be put to use...I am having people e mail me cause its easier to keep track of comments when I write up the report.

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I think they're on the right track with ICA. Initially, I agreed with most of what's been said so far. But now having watched all four and the behind the scenes show, some of my impressions have evolved.

I was gonna say to get rid of Kevin Brausch, but in watching the tag team finale, he's getting the hang of it. Basically, the floor reporter has to make a pest of him/herself.

Film the real results being announced, not two alternate endings. That's weak.

Feature Jill Novatt (the attractive pantry/stadium director) in any capacity - she could be the play by play announcer along with Alton's color commentary (which is basically the role she's playing behind the scenes anyway).

I hope they're going to be making these fairly consistently. If so, another thing that I think would be very important is a permanent or semi-permanent judge - like the fortune teller or that blowhard actor guy. I think this is necessary because over time you can get a feel for someone's tastes and preferences, and whether they agree with yours. If all three judges are always new judges, as an audience member I can't get as much of a sense of how the food tastes, only how it looks.

Also in regard to judges, unfortunately, I think it also makes for better TV if you have someone like American Idol's Simon Cowell, to spur water cooler talk. "Did you hear what ____ said about the challenger's soup last night?" Steingarten might be good for that.

Ted Lowe was a good judge in his own way as well - very descriptive. Kerry Simon might be a good chef, but his critiques consisted of "I like this" and "This worked nicely," which isn't helpful to the viewers (but probably what I'd say too if I was eating that food).

For extra "street cred", it's probably a good idea to make references to the Japanese body of work. For instance, Julie Dreyfus was a guest judge in two of the original ICJs, and I think she would be an natural choice to appear on ICA. Try to get Ron Siegel as a challenger or judge.

~Tad

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I enjoyed the new episodes, though much less than the original version. That's to be expected though. The main thing that annoyed me was "Big Pussy" as a judge. His asinine comments were pretty disrespectful to the chef. They should at least make sure the prospective judges have a rudimentary knowledge of good food, at least to the point of not being a "Big Pussy" when it comes to raw food. The floor guy was a moron, but even that was entertaining. Alton Brown seem to know his stuff and is a good host, but I agree with those who say he needs a partner. I was suprised to see Flay win, though I suppose his dishes would be more appealing to an American palate. Apparently, his dishes tanked on ICJ. All the food they made looks awesome, and since that, along with the cooking process, is the main reason I watch the show, I welcome the new episodes, and with all the feeback from the eGullet contingent, it can only get better.

"yes i'm all lit up again"

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:cool: IMHO, the network ought to pitch a new deal to Tony Bordain. Put him on the floor and let him & AB bounce remarks off each other! Opposites attract, right?

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Actually, what would be funnier would be to have Bourdain and Keller cooking together against Flay and Puck, with Alton being able to communicate directly with them through an earpiece. Just to hear the reactions to the comments. Or if not Alton, then Whatshisname that was doing the floor reporting. He should be allowed to stick a mic into one of their faces and ask questions like, "Is the fish fresh?"

And I'd also like to point out, since someone mentioned "dumbing down" dishes for the Americans, is that Sakai and Morimoto both own (or are about to open) restaurants in the states. They are or should be used to preparing food for an American sensibility.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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#1.Still drooling over the kitchen.

Me too!!!! I would love to work with all that stuff! New toys!

In my heart of hearts I know Tony Bourdain would have given it the zing and wit it needed .. too bad he didn't want to be one of the judges

If he knew about the other judges, I can't blame him. The guy from The Sopranos didn't even like raw food like sushi (yet he is a culinary judge?) They also had that guy from friends who seemed not to know much about food.

I don't know...., the show was ok, but the judging was horrible, I thought. As for the show itself, they kept enough similarities with the japanese version to make it enjoyable. But I do agree with everybody else. I would have liked some audience (not a very noisy one) and a sidekick to Alton Brown.

My overall opinion of the show is that it was good enough for a remake, but the judging made me not like it at all

Well I think they picked the judges to match the broad spectrum of the American eating public. The public who plops down hard earned cash to eat at a broad spectrum of food establishments....well it's my opinion anyway. After all a very wide and varied viewing public watch the "Food Network"; not just foodies and connoisseurs of fine dining.

Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique."-Anon

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i believe i read in an L.A. Times article that, about a week before the competition, the contestants were given a very short list of potential theme ingredients and were told the theme ingredient would be one of those on the list. (i hope my memory isn't failing me.) it's a lot easier to display ingenuity/creativity when you know what's coming.

Iron Chef Japan used the same approach.

i think the article said that in the japanese version, the contestants were given the ingredient about an hour in advance. in any event, the article listed the significant advance notice in the american version as one of the differences between the two.

I believe they were given a short list the day before on ICJ.

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The main thing that annoyed me was "Big Pussy" as a judge. His asinine comments were pretty disrespectful to the chef. They should at least make sure the prospective judges have a rudimentary knowledge of good food, at least to the point of not being a "Big Pussy" when it comes to raw food.

Yeah I didn't care for Big Pussy at all. The man is a culinary ignoramus.

BTW, did anyone notice that while they had some pretty sophisticated restaurant equipment (fryolator, smoker, convec oven, pacoject, robocoupe, etc) they used pro-style home ranges and wok burners as opposed to restaurant ranges?

What the hell is up with that?

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Just read the interview. Nice job, Trish. One compliment to the director: I think they did a very good job of showing the food. One of my complaints about the original is that you often didn't get a sense for a few of the dishes per show. I felt like I saw every dish and got some good closeups of the prep along the way here consistently.

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For the individual "Battle of the Masters" round the tallied results are: American Iron Chefs, 3, Japanese Iron Chefs, 0.

Any theories?

Although all of the chefs were inventive, the Japanese seemed to use a good deal more "foreign" ingredients than the American chefs. This could have been part of it. As I recall, the largest score discrepancies came in taste as opposed to the more visual aspects of the dishes.

And really, trout ice cream?

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:cool: IMHO, the network ought to pitch a new deal to Tony Bordain. Put him on the floor and let him & AB bounce remarks off each other! Opposites attract, right?

We haven't seen the new IC up here in Canada yet ... or at least I haven't ... being without an illegal sattelite dish and all. However, also being an impatient Canuck (waiting for Christmas morning still almost kills me) I have thoroughly enjoyed the comments in these threads.

Trout ice cream? Can't wait!

I have read the Tony Bourdain suggestion in a number of posts ... brilliant! Alton & Tony are my two favorite FN people.

So, do we start a petition ... a movement?

Thanks

DA

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Hasn't AB said that AB snubbed him or something at the last Beard event? There does indeed seem to be some high school style animosity between the two. Not to mention they're from two ends of the spectrum, one essentially being the motorcycle-riding, chain-smoking guy who hangs out in back of the school trying to get laid and score some weed, the other the geek who stays after school to help the teacher and makes friends by being "the funny one".

Also, Bourdain said that it's not his time to be a panelist on the gong show, or something like that, in regards to ICA on another thread, if memory serves.

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Hasn't AB said that AB snubbed him or something at the last Beard event?

According to Tony himself (posted here somewhere), this matter is resolved.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

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